The Info List - Nastaʿlīq Script

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Nastaʿlīq (Persian: نستعلیق‬‎, from نسخ‬ Naskh and تعلیق‬ Taʿlīq) is one of the main calligraphic hands used in writing the Persian alphabet, and traditionally the predominant style in Persian calligraphy.[1] It was developed in Iran
in the 14th and 15th centuries.[2] It is sometimes used to write Arabic-language text (where it is known as Taʿlīq or Persian and is mainly used for titles and headings), but its use has always been more popular in the Persian, Turkic and Urdu
sphere of influence. Nastaʿlīq remains very widely used in Iran, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan
and other countries for written poetry and as a form of art.[citation needed] A less elaborate version of Nastaʿlīq serves as the preferred style for writing in Kashmiri, Punjabi and Urdu, and it is often used alongside Naskh for Pashto. In Persian it is used for poetry only. Nastaʿlīq was historically used for writing Ottoman Turkish, where it was known as tâlik[3] (not to be confused with a totally different Persian style, also called taʿlīq; to distinguish the two, Ottomans referred to the latter as taʿlīq-i qadim, "old taʿlīq"). Nastaʿlīq is the core script of the post- Sassanid
Persian writing tradition, and is equally important in the areas under its cultural influence. The languages of Iran
(Western Persian, Azeri, Balochi, Kurdi, Luri, etc.), Afghanistan
(Dari, Pashto, Uzbek, Turkmen, etc.), Pakistan
(Punjabi, Urdu, Kashmiri, Saraiki, etc.), and the Turkic Uyghur language
Uyghur language
of the Chinese province of Xinjiang, rely on Nastaʿlīq. Under the name taʿliq (lit. “suspending [script]”), it was also beloved by Ottoman calligraphers who developed the Diwani (divanî) and Ruqah (rık’a) styles from it.[citation needed] Nastaʿlīq is amongst the most fluid calligraphy styles for the Arabic
script. It has short verticals with no serifs, and long horizontal strokes. It is written using a piece of trimmed reed with a tip of 5–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in), called qalam (pen-قلم, in Arabic
and Persian قلم), and carbon ink, named davat. The nib of a qalam can be split in the middle to facilitate ink absorption.[citation needed] Two important forms of Nastaʿlīq panels are Chalipa
and Siah-Mashq. A Chalipa
("cross", in Persian) panel usually consists of four diagonal hemistiches (half-lines) of poetry, clearly signifying a moral, ethical or poetic concept. Siah- Mashq
("black drill") panels, however, communicate via composition and form, rather than content. In Siah-Mashq, repeating a few letters or words (sometimes even one) virtually inks the whole panel. The content is thus of less significance and not clearly accessible.[citation needed]


1 History 2 Notable Nastaʿlīq calligraphers 3 Etiquette 4 Nastaʿlīq typesetting

4.1 Nastaʿlīq electronic publishing and DTP

5 Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq

5.1 Gallery

6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links


Persian Chalipa
panel, Mir Emad. In print: بودم به تو عمری و ترا سیر ندیدم از وصل تو هرگز به مرادی نرسیدم از بهر تو بیگانه شدم از همه خویشان وحشی صفت از خلق به یکبار بریدم‬

After the Islamic conquest of Persia, the Iranian Persian people adopted the Perso- Arabic
script, and the art of Persian calligraphy flourished in Iran
as territories of the former Persian empire. Apparently, Mir Ali Tabrizi (14th century) developed Nastaʿlīq by combining two existing scripts of Nasḫ and Taʿlīq.[4] Hence, it was originally called Nasḫ-Taʿlīq. Another theory holds that the name Nastaʿlīq means "that which abrogated (naskh) Taʿlīq".[citation needed] Nastaʿlīq thrived, and many prominent calligraphers contributed to its splendor and beauty. It is believed[by whom?] that Nastaʿlīq reached its highest elegance in Mir Emad's works. The current practice of Nastaʿlīq is, however, heavily based on Mirza Reza Kalhor's technique. Kalhor modified and adapted Nastaʿlīq to be easily used with printing machines, which in turn helped wide dissemination of his transcripts. He also devised methods for teaching Nastaʿlīq and specified clear proportional rules for it, which many could follow.[citation needed] The Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
used Persian as the court language during their rule over South Asia. During this time, Nastaʿlīq came into widespread use in South Asia. The influence continues to this day. In Pakistan, almost everything in Urdu
is written in the script, constituting the greatest part of Nastaʿlīq usage in the world. The situation of Nastaʿlīq in Bangladesh
used to be the same as in Pakistan
until 1971, when Urdu
ceased to remain an official language. Today, only a few people use this form of writing in Bangladesh.[citation needed] Nastaʿlīq is a descendant of Nasḫ and Taʿlīq. Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq (literally "broken Nastaʿlīq") style is a development of Nastaʿlīq.[citation needed] Notable Nastaʿlīq calligraphers[edit]

Example showing «خط نستعلیق‬» (Nastaʿlīq script) written in Nastaʿlīq.

Mir Ali Tabrizi Mir Emad Mirza Buzurg-i-Nuri Mishkín-Qalam Mirza Mohammad Reza Kalhor

And others, including Mirza Jafar Tabrizi, Abdul Rashid Deilami, Sultan Ali Mashadi, Mir Ali Heravi, Emad Ul-Kottab, Mirza Gholam Reza Esfehani, Emadol Kotab, Yaghoot Mostasami, and Darvish Abdol Majid Taleghani.[citation needed] And among contemporary artists: Hassan Mirkhani, Hossein Mirkhani, Keikhosro Khoroush, Abbas Akhavein and Qolam-Hossein Amirkhani, Ali Akbar Kaveh, Kaboli.[5] Etiquette[edit] Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy
was originally used to adorn Islamic religious texts, specifically the Qur'an, as pictorial ornaments were prohibited in Islam. Therefore, a sense of sacredness was always implicit in calligraphy.[citation needed] A Nastaʿlīq disciple was supposed to qualify himself spiritually for being a calligrapher, besides learning how to prepare qalam, ink, paper and, more importantly, master Nastaʿlīq. For instance see Adab al-Mashq, a manual of penmanship attributed to Mir Emad.[citation needed]

Folio of Poetry From the Divan of Sultan Husayn Mirza, ca. 1490. Brooklyn Museum.

Quatrain on the Virtue of Patience by Muhammad Muhsin Lahuri of the Mughal Empire.

Spousal Advice by Abdallah Lahuri of the Mughal Empire.

Nastaʿlīq typesetting[edit]

An example of the Nastaʿlīq script
Nastaʿlīq script
used for writing Urdu

Nastaʿlīq Typography first started with attempts to develop a metallic type for the script, but all such efforts failed. Fort William College developed a Nastaʿlīq Type, which was not close enough to Nastaʿlīq and hence was never used other than by the college library to publish its own books. The State of Hyderabad Dakan (now in India) also attempted to develop a Nastaʿlīq Typewriter but this attempt failed miserably and the file was closed with the phrase “Preparation of Nastaʿlīq on commercial basis is impossible”. Basically, in order to develop such a metal type, thousands of pieces would be required.[citation needed] Modern Nastaʿlīq typography began with the invention of Noori Nastaleeq which was first created as a digital font in 1981 through the collaboration of Mirza Ahmad Jamil
Mirza Ahmad Jamil
TI (as Calligrapher) and Monotype Imaging
Monotype Imaging
(formerly Monotype Corp & Monotype Typography).[6] Although this was a ground-breaking solution employing over 20,000 ligatures (individually designed character combinations) which provided the most beautiful results and allowed newspapers such as Pakistan's Daily Jang
Daily Jang
to use digital typesetting instead of an army of calligraphers, it suffered from two problems in the 1990s: (a) its non-availability on standard platforms such as Windows or Mac OS, and (b) the non- WYSIWYG
nature of text entry, whereby the document had to be created by commands in Monotype's proprietary page description language. Windows 8 was the first version of Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
to have native Nastaʿlīq support, through Microsoft's " Urdu
Typesetting" font.[7] Nastaʿlīq electronic publishing and DTP[edit] In 1994, InPage
Urdu, which is a fully functional page layout software for Windows akin to Quark XPress, was developed for Pakistan's newspaper industry. This was done by an Indian software company – Concept Software Pvt Ltd – led by Rarendra Pratap Singh and Vijay Krishan Gupta, with the input and help of Firoz Hashmi expert in calligraphy & Urdu
and a UK company called Multilingual Solutions (Limited) led by Kamran Rouhi. In this version 40 other non-Nastaʿlīq fonts which were created by Syed Manzar Hasan Zaidi. They licensed and improved the Noori Nastaliq font from Monotype at that time. This font, with its vast ligature base of over 20,000, is still used in current versions of the software for Windows. As of 2009 InPage
has become Unicode based, supporting more languages, and the Faiz Lahori Nastaliq font with Kasheeda developed by Syed Manzar Hasan Zaidi, Axis SoftMedia Pvt. Ltd., has been added to it along with compatibility with OpenType Unicode fonts. Nastaliq Kashish[clarification needed] has been made for the first time[clarification needed] in the history of Nastaʿlīq Typography.[citation needed] InPage
has been widely marketed and sold in the UK, India
and elsewhere since 1994, and is utilized in the majority of UK schools and local authorities where Urdu
is a main language of pupils and constituents. InPage
is also reported to be in use on millions of PCs in India, Pakistan
and other countries of the world.[citation needed] Nowadays, nearly all Urdu
newspapers, magazines, journals, and periodicals are composed on computers via various Urdu
software programmes, the most widespread of which is the InPage
Desktop Publishing package.[citation needed] Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq[edit] Shekasteh or Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq
Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq
(Persian: شکسته نستعلیق‎; "cursive Nastaʿlīq", or literally "broken Nastaʿlīq") style is a successor of Nastaʿlīq.[citation needed] Gallery[edit]

A line of poetry by the Iranian poet Omar Khayyam
Omar Khayyam
in Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq. In print: این قافلهٔ عُمر عجب میگذرد‬

A ruba'i of Omar Khayyam
Omar Khayyam
in Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq. In print: گویند کسان بهشت با حور خوش است من میگویم که آب انگور خوش است این نقد بگیر و دست از آن نسیه بدار کاواز دهل شنیدن از دور خوش است‬

An excerpt from Shaykh Sa'di's (d. 691/1292) "Gulistan" (The Rose Garden), in Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq
Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq

Fath Ali Shah Qajar's order in Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq
Shekasteh Nastaʿlīq
script, January 1831

See also[edit]

Islamic calligraphy Persian calligraphy Shahmukhi script Urdu
alphabet Modi


^ The Cambridge History of Islam. By P. M. Holt, et al., Cambridge University Press, 1977, ISBN 0-521-29138-0, p. 723. ^ Hamed, Payman. "Famous Calligraphers - Persian Calligraphy- All about Persian Calligraphy". www.persiancalligraphy.org.  ^ ""The Scripts"".  ^ "Famous Calligraphers". Persian Calligraphy. Retrieved 12 January 2012.  ^ Nastaliq Script – Persian Calligraphy
Archived September 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Khurshiq, Iqbal. "زندگی آگے بڑھنے کا نام اور جمود موت ہے: نوری نستعلیق کی ایجاد سے خط نستعلیق کی دائمی حفاظت ہوگئی". Express. Retrieved 24 November 2013.  ^ "The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 9: Nastaleeq vs. Nastaliq? Either way, Windows 8 has got it!". MSDN Blogs. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 

Further reading[edit]

Habib-ollah Feza'eli, Ta'lim-e Khatt, Tehran: Sorush, 1977 (in Persian) Sheila Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005. H.R. Ghelichkhānī, The Oldest Inscriptions written in the Nast‘alīq Calligraphic Hand, Quarterly Naqd-O-Taḥqīq, ISSN 2454-2563, Editor: S. Naqi Abbas (Kaify), Volume 1, Issue IV, pp. 48–54, Oct-Nov-Dec. 2015, New Delhi (in Persian)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nastaliq.

Rumicode: Online Service For Nastaʿlīq Calligraphy Nastaliq Online: Online Service For Nastaʿlīq Calligraphy Download Nastaʿlīq Unicode Font by the Supreme Council of ICT Iran Download IPA for Urdu
and Roman Urdu
for Mobile and Internet Users Iranian Calligraphers Association Center for Research in Urdu
Processing – Download Urdu Fonts Free True Type font covering basic Nastaʿlīq. Nastaʿlīq Writer for Macintosh, from the SIL. Requires QuickDraw GX or Mac OS
Mac OS
X. Pak Nastaleeq: Official Pak Nastaleeq Font site InPage
Urdu: Official InPage
DTP software site Faiz Nastaliq: Official Faiz Nastaʿlīq site Short introduction to Persian calligraphy
Persian calligraphy
(in French) Profiles and works of World Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy
(in French) Nastaliq Script Persian Calligraphy Download Noto Nastaliq Urdu
font Awami Nastaliq: A Nastaʿlīq font by SIL International

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